Objection to mode or method of electronic proof cannot be entertained at appellate stage

Supreme Court: In the case where the reliability of the Call Detail Records (CDRs) produced as proof was questioned for not complying with the requirements under Section 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872, the bench of S. A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ said that the mode or method of proof is procedural and objections, if not taken at the trial, cannot be permitted at the appellate stage. It was held that an objection relating to the mode or method of proof has to be raised at the time of marking of the document as an exhibit and not later.

The bench said that though the admissibility of a document which is inherently inadmissible is an issue which can be taken up at the appellate stage because it is a fundamental issue, if the objections to the mode of proof are permitted to be taken at the appellate stage by a party, the other side does not have an opportunity of rectifying the deficiencies.

The Court was hearing an appeal against conviction in a case of abduction and murder where the Police had collected the CDRs of all the mobile phones that were recovered from the accused and the mobile phones of the deceased. The appellants had objected to the credibility of these CDRs. Rejecting the contention of the appellants, the Court said that the crucial test is whether the defect could have been cured at the stage of marking the document and applying this test to the present case, if an objection was taken to the CDRs being marked without a certificate, the Court could have given the prosecution an opportunity to rectify the deficiency but not now. [Sonu v. State of Haryana,  2017 SCC OnLine SC 765, decided on 18.07.2017]


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